Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Moment: Records

One of the most exciting things about watching the Olympic Games is seeing athletes set new world records and break old ones, sometimes in the same Olympics! Sometimes, those records are based on speed or strength. Other times, it's based on history. So tonight, Day 8 of the Olympics, records were challenged, some broken, some remained, some new ones forged.

In the fast and hard world of track and field, the race that defines the summer Olympics, the 100m dash, took place to determine the fastest man in the world. And it was Jamaican Usain Bolt who sets new world record of the 100m dash at 9.69 seconds! What an amazing race! He beat out the speedy competition to claim the gold.

There were several unexpected gold medal winners.

There is the women's marathon, which took place today, Aug 16 (17 in China). Romania's Constantina Tomescu wins the marathon by a wide lead!

In shooting, US Army soldier Vincent Hancock wins the gold in skeet.
In the world of swimming, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia wins the 1500m freestyle ahead of Aussie fave, Grant Hackett.

The Australian women win the gold in the 4x100m medley relay and keep their history of winning this event. The Americans, anchored by silver medalist Dara Torres, come in second. Torres had just finished a 50m freestyle race less than an hour before starting the relay race! That's two hard races she swam in less than an hour!

For Torres, this is her 3rd silver of the Beijing games--one from the 4x100m relay (also won by Australia), the 50m freestyle, and tonight's 4x100m medley. This is the 41 year old Dara Torres' 5th Olympics! She medaled in each Olympics she competed in from 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2008. Her story is sensational in that she sat out the 1996 and 2004 Olympics and is the oldest American swimmer ever to compete and win a medal at the Olympics.

Another Australian team set out to set a new record and break America's history of winning the 4x100m medley relay. The retired Australian torpedo, Ian Thorpe, had predicted that Michael Phelps would not achieve his goal of 8 gold medals, or even 7. This race was the last chance for Michael Phelps to win his final gold medal. It would set a new record for most gold medals ever won at a single Olympics. What makes the medley relay exciting is that each leg of the race is done with the backstroke, breaststoke, butterfly, and freestyle.

Right from the start, it was a thrilling race! The Aussies and the Americans traded leads. The Aussies would be anchored by Eamon Walker, the world record holder for 100m freestyle. And once again, it was Jason Lezak who anchored and fought off Australia's Eamon Walker to set a new world record and win the gold! Michael Phelps becomes a legend, and he owes it all to his teammates heroic efforts! And the Americans maintain their tradition of winning this event since it was started in the Olympics!

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